Keeping Your RV Covered When Not in Use: What are Your Options? 8499

Let’s face it. The majority of RVs aren’t used most days out of the year. Your motorhome or travel trailer generally sits in the driveway or backyard for weeks or even months. What this means is that the vehicle is going to be affected by the sun, rain, and wind. 

Leaving a vehicle sitting out in the elements poses a few issues that cause damage. They include sun damage, moisture penetration, rusting, and snow adding weight and moisture.

Your RV is not protected from much if it is sitting out in the elements. Often, people will cover them with a specially designed RV cover. But is an RV cover worth it or should you invest in another option? Some store theirs under a roof/in a building. Which option is going to be best for you?

RV Covers

Image from Camping World

Will an RV cover be your best bet to keep your RV protected? It’s possible, but there are some things you should consider before pulling out your wallet and laying down some big ones. 

The first and biggest issue is that RV covers are notorious for ripping. This is why most manufacturers don’t offer a true 100% money-back guarantee.If they do offer a true money-back guarantee, it’s only for two to three years (Up to six years with the best company).

However, you can get a good one that’s likely not to tear anytime soon by buying a top-quality one. This often means shelling out a little more money than you might expect. 

Second, most are not going to be waterproof. They are water-resistant. The roof part may be waterproof, but that doesn’t make the whole thing is waterproof. 

You also have to have a place to put that huge cover when you are on the road. Make sure you have the room in your garage or in a shed or attic. It may take up more space than you think.

RV covers aren’t cheap, and good ones can cost a pretty penny. However, they are cheaper than buying a storage space for your RV. Even a couple of months of storing an RV in a storage space can equal the cost of an RV cover.

Adding and removing the cover can be a difficult job. It requires you getting on the roof and moving around the components that stick out the top of your roof while also maneuvering the heavy cover. It may also be difficult to heave it up to the top of your RV. If you have limited mobility, this chore can especially be an issue.

Good things about a cover? It will keep the sun off your RV, reducing fading from UV light. It should also keep leaves off your rig. And, depending on the cover it can help control moisture.

However, this is one you need to be careful about. Some RV covers don’t breathe enough and can lock in too much moisture. This can result in mold and other issues. If you’re going to get an RV cover, make sure it’s made of breathable material and designed specifically for your RV. Also, don’t be scared to save up for a good one. Generally, you get what you pay for.

What About Tire Covers?

Tire covers
Image from Camping World

Even if you don’t cover your RV, tire covers are a good investment. They don’t cover a large area. Therefore the wind won’t damage them. Your tires will be safe from deteriorating prematurely from UV light. 

You may only have to get tire covers for one side of your RV if the other side is protected from the sun by a building or other shade. However, many of the tire covers you find on Camping World’s website will be sold in sets of four, so it makes sense to buy them that way and put them all on.

Tire covers often come with wrap-around cables or bungees that keep the wind from blowing the cover off, so they’re really a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing. 

Covers are a good idea as you typically keep RV tires longer than your daily driver does. This is due to the limited number of miles put on them each year. If you keep them protected from UV light—the biggest deteriorator of tires—you can keep them much longer.

RV Carports/Garages

garage car port
Image from Camping World

If possible, it’s much better to store your RV under a roof of some sort. This could be as simple as parking it under a tall carport. Or you can go with a four-wall enclosure such as a garage. You can also set up a temporary canopy or garage for your RV if you can find one big enough.

This way you have practically no moisture issues. Little to no UV damage. No leaves getting into your rooftop components. Your tires will be safe from weathering. Also, you can access your RV or motorhome without zipping and unzipping a cover.

Your RV can breathe, not being under a giant cover. There will be less molding issues since you can keep it ventilated. Snow cannot accumulate on top of or around your RV either. The only thing you’ll have to look out for are small critters trying to use your RV as shelter.

Final Thoughts

Depending on your budget, an RV cover may or may not be a good solution for protecting your RV. They will offer some protection from moisture, leaves, and UV damage.

Storing your RV under a building or carport is a surefire way to keep it fully protected. For DIY’ers, there are plenty of temporary canopy and garage options available at Camping World.

If you go with an RV cover, I don’t suggest buying the cheapest RV cover. Instead, invest in high-quality cover material. For this, I’d suggest looking Classic Accessories Covers at Camping World.

Your RV probably wasn’t cheap, even if you decided to sell or trade-in an older RV, so you should invest something into keeping it as well maintained and protected as possible. You can cover it with an RV cover or a building. The choice is yours!

What do you use to protect your RV when it’s not in use? Leave a comment below!

Keeping your RV covered when not in use

Kelly Beasley Contributor
Kelly roams the west in her 24’ travel trailer with her two tiny dogs Trixie and Gizmo. She started full-time RVing in April of 2015 after being frustrated by “the common life”. In 2017, she created an RVing product education site called Camp Addict with her friend Marshall Wendler. This was a way to help as many other RVers get the information necessary for their RVing needs. Kelly is a full-time solo boondocker and digital nomad, with no end date to living nomadically. You can read about her crazy nomadic life at


  1. Thank you for warning us that some RV covers don’t offer enough breathability and can lock in too much moisture, so we should consider this when deciding on what to use to cover our RV when kept in storage. I recently invested in a motorhome and since we won’t be going on a trip until April, I need to find tarps to cover it while it’s not in use. I’ll keep what you said in mind while I look for custom-fitted industrial covers soon.

    1. Hi Elina! You are most welcome. I will say that tarps certainly offer even less breathability, in general, than RV covers. So you’re better off making the investment into a quality cover than trying to cover it with a tarp, in my opinion. Here are a few more cover-related articles that might help:

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